Story 2015-02-11 2X09 US mobile carriers must unlock wireless devices

US mobile carriers must unlock wireless devices

in mobile on (#2X09)
story imageToday is the deadline for an agreement reached between the Federal Communications Commission and wireless carriers back in 2013. Starting today, once you've paid off your contract or owned a pre-paid phone (or other device, like a tablet) for a year, all major US carriers must unlock your phone for you if you ask. Carriers also have to tell you when your phone is eligible to be unlocked, and they have to unlock phones for deployed military personnel.

Rules around locking and unlocking phones have gone back and forth. For a while, it was illegal to unlock your phone without express consent of your carrier. In 2014, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act made it legal again. And this latest deadline makes it illegal for providers to say no if you ask to unlock a phone you've already paid for. This change gives power back to the people to freely use the phones they already own.

Here’s more information on how to unlock your phone on the big four U.S. carriers, including how to verify that your device is eligible, caveats in the fine print, and alternative carriers you can bring your device to. The FCC also has useful information about the process.
Reply 1 comments

Price? (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-02-12 16:54 (#2ZEH)

Does the law also say they have to do it for free or only a nominal fee? Because if they charge more for unlocking than it would cost you to buy a new phone, it won't help you.